X
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

No, that's not an air freshener, that's Google Home

A customizable speaker, assistant, smart home controller and entertainer all rolled into one, take a closer look at the Google Home.

andrewgebhart.jpg
andrewgebhart.jpg
Andrew Gebhart
google-home-product-photos-11.jpg
1 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Plug in the $130 Google Home and it'll act a personal assistant, a smart home controller and an entertainment hub. It integrates with Google Assistant and other Google services to offer personalized results.

google-home-product-photos-29.jpg
2 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A qualified assistant

As a personal assistant, Home can tell you about the traffic on your way to work and your local weather in your morning briefing.

google-home-product-photos-10.jpg
3 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Colorful thinking

You'll see its multi-color display spin as it thinks.

google-home-product-photos-27.jpg
4 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Imitation = Flattery

Google Home has a lot in common with the $180 Amazon Echo.

google-home-product-photos-28.jpg
5 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Quite the entertainer

Home bests Echo by working with Chromecast streamers and controlling your home's speakers or TV. You do something similar with the smaller Amazon Echo Dot by plugging it into your home's sound system, or connecting over Bluetooth.

google-home-product-photos-26.jpg
6 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Smarter home

As a smart home controller, Home works with Nest, Philips Hue, SmartThings and IFTTT.

google-home-product-photos-25.jpg
7 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Look familiar

And yes, it does look like an air freshener.

google-home-product-photos-23.jpg
8 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Under the hood

But I still like the design. Pop off the base and you'll find a powerful speaker hidden underneath.

google-home-product-photos-22.jpg
9 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Synced up

You can play music on the Home, and also on any Google Cast enabled speaker or any speaker that has a Chromecast streamer. Better yet, you can group multiple speakers and play them together with a single command to Home.

google-home-product-photos-21.jpg
10 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Changing stripes

If you want to change how it looks, you can buy different colored bases.

google-home-product-photos-20.jpg
11 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Blending in

The grey one is the default, and makes Home look professional, if a bit bland. Though, in fairness, the grey base is nicely understated.

google-home-product-photos-17.jpg
12 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Do the twist

The base pops off if you unplug the speaker and give it a twist.

google-home-product-photos-16.jpg
13 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Snap into place

Pop on the new one and it'll automatically snap into place and be properly aligned. Home's well designed to make swapping bases easy.

google-home-product-photos-15.jpg
14 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

What can brown do for you?

Once you find your color of choice, you can plug in Home and download the Google Home app to get started.

google-home-product-photos-18.jpg
15 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Plug it in

The plug fits snuggly underneath Home.

google-home-product-photos-13.jpg
16 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Speak up

Once you connect Home to your Wi-Fi with the app, you'll need to link your Google account.

google-home-product-photos-24.jpg
17 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Wake words

Then, just say "Hey Google" or "Okay Google" and speak your command.

google-home-product-photos-12.jpg
18 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Ready to serve

You'll see these four lights when Home's listening.

google-home-product-photos-7.jpg
19 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Mute

If you don't want Home listening, you can always hit the mute button.

google-home-product-photos-6.jpg
20 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Privacy concerns

That said, Home only records what you say after you say the wake words.

google-home-product-photos-5.jpg
21 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Finding its niche

We really liked Home as a smart home controller.

google-home-product-photos-4.jpg
22 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Chromecast helps

It works best as an entertainer, thanks to its integrations with Chromecast.

google-home-product-photos-3.jpg
23 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The competition

Right now, it might not be quite as good as Alexa. Amazon's assistant has a robust list of skills.

google-home-product-photos-2.jpg
24 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Potential

So Google has some catching up to do, but it already fulfills a lot of its potential.

google-home-product-photos-1.jpg
25 of 25 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Looking forward

Google Home is a versatile device now, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it becomes over time. For more, be sure to read our full review.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos